Home > Disclosure(9)

Author: Michael Crichton

Tom Sanders sat at his desk, staring forward, lost in thought. He was trying to put together his memory of a pretty young saleswoman in Silicon Valley with this new image of a corporate officer running company divisions, executing the complex groundwork required to take a division public. But his thoughts kept being interrupted by, random images from the past: Meredith smiling, wearing one of his shirts, naked beneath it. An opened suitcase on the bed. White stockings and white garter belt. A bowl of popcorn on the blue couch in the living room. The television with the sound turned off.

And for some reason, the image of a dower, a purple iris, in stained glass. It was one of those hackneyed Northern California hippie images. Sanders knew where it came from: it was on the glass of the front door to the apartment where he had lived, back in Sunnyvale. Back in the days when he had known Meredith. He wasn't sure why he should keep thinking of it now, and he-


He glanced up. Cindy was standing in the doorway, looking concerned.

"Tom, do you want coffee?"

"No, thanks."

"Don Cherry called again while you were with Phil. He wants you to come and look at the Corridor."

"They having problems?"

"I don't know. He sounded excited. You want to call him back?"

"Not right now. I'll go down and see him in a minute."

She lingered at the door. "You want a bagel? Have you had breakfast?"

"I'm fine."


"I'm fine, Cindy. Really."

She went away. He turned to look at his monitor, and saw that the icon for his e-mail was blinking. But he was thinking again about Meredith Johnson.

Sanders had more or less lived with her for about six months. It had been quite an intense relationship for a while. And yet, although he kept having isolated, vivid images, he realized that in general his memories from that time were surprisingly vague. Had he really lived with Meredith for six months? When exactly had they first met, and when had they broken up? Sanders was surprised at how difficult it was for him to fix the chronology in his mind. Hoping for clarity, he considered other aspects of his life: what had been his position at DigiCom in those days? Was he still working in Marketing, or had he already moved to the technical divisions? He wasn't sure, now. He would have to look it up in the files.

He thought about Blackburn. Blackburn had left his wife and moved in with Sanders around the time Sanders was involved with Meredith. Or was it afterward, when things had gone bad? Maybe Phil had moved into his apartment around the time he was breaking up with Meredith. Sanders wasn't sure. As he considered it, he realized he wasn't sure about anything from that time. These events had all happened a decade ago, in another city, at another period in his life, and his memories were in disarray. Again, he was surprised at how confused he was.

He pushed the intercom. "Cindy? I've got a question for you."

"Sure, Tom."

"This is the third week of June. What were you doing the third week of June, ten years ago?"

She didn't even hesitate. "That's easy: graduating from college."

Of course that would be true. "Okay," he said. "Then how about June, nine years ago."

"Nine years ago?" Her voice sounded suddenly cautious, less certain. "Gee . . . Let's see, June . . . Nine years ago? . . . June . . . Uh . . . I think I was with my boyfriend in Europe."

"Not your present boyfriend?"

"No . . . This guy was a real jerk."

Sanders said, "How long did that last?"

"We were there for a month."

"I mean the relationship."

"With him? Oh, let's see, we broke up . . . oh, it must have been. . . uh, December . . . I think it was December, or maybe January, after the holidays . . . Why?"

"Just trying to figure something out," Sanders said. Already he was relieved to hear the uncertain tone of her voice, as she tried to piece together the past. "By the way, how far back do we have office records? Correspondence, and call books?"

"I'd have to check. I know I have about three years."

"And what about earlier?"

"Earlier? How much earlier?"

"Ten years ago," he said.

"Gee, that'd be when you were in Cupertino. Do they have that stuff in storage down there? Did they put it on fiche, or was it just thrown out?"

"I don't know."

"You want me to check?"

"Not now," he said, and clicked off: He didn't want her making any inquiries in Cupertino now. Not right now.

Sanders rubbed his eyes with his fingertips. His thoughts drifting back over time. Again, he saw the stained-glass flower. It was oversize, bright, banal. Sanders had always been embarrassed by the banality of it. In those days, he had lived in one of the apartment complexes on Merano Drive. Twenty units clustered around a chilly little swimming pool. Everybody in the building worked for a high-tech company. Nobody ever went in the pool. And Sanders wasn't around much. Those were the days when he flew with Garvin to Korea twice a month. The days when they all flew coach. They couldn't even afford business class.

And he remembered how he would come home, exhausted from the long flight, and the first thing he would see when he got to his apartment was that damned stainedglass flower on the door.

And Meredith, in those days, was partial to white stockings, a white garter belt, little white flowers on the snaps with

"Tom?" He looked up. Cindy was at the doorway. She said, "If you want to see Don Cherry, you'd better go now because you have a ten-thirty with Gary Bosak."

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